What’s an effective course of action to address parental alienation?

What would be an effective course of action to address parental alienation? Is there an area of law that intervenes in these cases?

First, I’ll tell one of the most ineffective courses of action against parental alienation is: court action.

Courts hate allegations of parental alienation. Why? Some judges are intimidated by them (meaning that some judges feel so ill-equipped to determine whether parental alienation is occurring that they just avoid the issue altogether), other judges are simply indifferent or apathetic on the subject. Either way, parental alienation just doesn’t get addressed much, if at all, by courts, and if it is addressed, it’s usually dealt with poorly, if at all. You can spend tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars and months, even years, trying to prove parental alienation and the courts just won’t deal with it because the don’t want to deal with it.

The most effective courses of action against parental alienation (in terms of money, time, and effort and reduced heartbreak) are, in my opinion:

  • Prayer and trust in the Lord;
  • Living a life of good character, regardless of whether anyone seems to notice (because your kids will notice, even if you think they’re brainwashed beyond salvage);
  • Counseling and/or therapy (whether for you alone, or for you and the kids, if by some miracle you can engage in it with your kids without the alienating parent making a mess of it); and
  • Loving your minor children throughout the period of parental alienation with the hope and prayer (I really meant what I said about prayer) that when the children are adults and (it is hoped and prayed) beyond the reach of the alienating parent’s toxic influence, they will see you for what you really are and see the alienating parent for who he/she really is, and then seek to pick up the pieces with you. It does happen. Don’t give up hope.
  • In a nod to Joel Osteen, seek beauty for ashes. “There’s more room in a broken heart.” So find something to help fill—if only partially—the hole in your heart that alienation has made. Share your experiences with and support other parents who are alienated. Take a lonely or struggling child (or even an adult) in your neighborhood or church under your wing. Teach Sunday school to kids. Coach a little league team. Work with the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Volunteer at the hospital, convalescent home, or homeless shelter. Don’t let parental alienation rob you and others of the blessings that flow from the love you have to give.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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